What does the update to Turnitin mean for students?

Turnitin is the software used for providing marks and feedback and checking for similarity on text-based assessments as part of the e-submission system at the University of Sussex .

Current students will most likely have used Turnitin at some point for submitting their work, viewing feedback or as a tool to help develop their referencing skills. However, for new students, this will likely be an entirely new experience. All students should be aware, that for the 2017/18 academic year, Turnitin has introduced a number of significant changes to their software with their recent ‘Feedback Studio’ rebrand and update.

If you are unfamiliar with Turnitin or e-submission, then please see the resources and guidance on the Technology Enhanced Learning website. For a brief overview of the updates, continue reading.

Key changes

The Originality report has been renamed the Similarity report.

Turnitin is often misunderstood as providing a ‘plagiarism’ detection service. Whilst in truth, it is your tutors who identify plagiarism, as defined by the university policy for academic misconduct.

Turnitin has no concept or built-in intelligence for identifying or navigating institutional policies for academic misconduct. It is simply capable of comparing your document against others to highlight similar matching sentences and areas of text – regardless of why it is ‘similar’. To recognise this, Turnitin has renamed this feature to more accurately reflect its behaviour. See our Understanding Turnitin Similarity webpage to learn more.

All features have been combined into a single interface.

In the previous iteration of Turnitin, marks and feedback were presented in a tab labelled ‘GradeMark’. Information from the Turnitin similarity report was displayed on a separate screen known as ‘Originality’. Feedback Studio now includes ‘layers’ which can be switched on or off to customise your display.

You will be able to view your summary feedback and rubric forms from the ‘Instructor Feedback’ menu. For more information on viewing your feedback, see the Technology Enhanced Learning web page.

Improved navigation between pages.

As well as having more visibility of your document, and the option to choose what you see. It’s also much easier to navigate between pages in your document using the thumbnail navigation menu.

Mobile and web accessibility.

The Turnitin software now uses a mobile responsive design, which means that you will be able to view your feedback and similarity reports across a range of smartphones and tablet devices. Turnitin has taken steps to improve the accessibility of their software to strive towards compliance with modern web standards (WCAG AAA standards). They have introduced an accessible colour palette, keyboard navigation and a text-only report for use with screen reader software. To access the text-only report, press the ‘tab’ key and then enter.

Where can I learn more about e-submission and Turnitin?

Full guidance on using the e-submission system, including submitting your work, viewing your feedback and understanding Turnitin similarity reports, is available from the Technology Enhanced Learning website.

For technical issues and support, contact the IT Service Desk, located in Shawcross Building. Email support@.its.sussex.ac.uk or call 01273 678090

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Posted in Marking and assessment

Autumn 2017 TEL Workshops

Over the Summer we’ve been beavering away developing an exciting menu of workshops and training activities for the Autumn term, blending our most popular sessions from last year with a range of new workshops tackling hot topics in teaching and learning with technology.

Really practical … great facilitation
Feedback on “Introduction to Poll Everywhere”

Staff can get support with specific classroom technologies, such as our Introduction to Poll Everywhere, Advanced SMARTboard workshop and overview of the Media on Demand available at the University.

We have a strong focus on creative applications of technology, exploring Mobile Creativity and Creating Multimedia Learning Materials as well as the expanded world of Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality.

Community also features prominently, from Working Together Online to developing a Connected Experience for Students on Placement, Peer Instruction and Creating Opportunities for Students to Showcase their Work.

Yesterday’s training was fantastic
Feedback on
“Peer Instruction: Just-in-time Teaching”

We’ll be re-running our online Digital Productivity course that was such a success at the beginning of the Summer, and complementing this with sessions on Managing Time and Tasks and Building a Professional Learning Network.

Teaching challenges are tackled as we revisit our highly popular session on Teaching Large Groups with Technology, offer strategies for In-class Formative Feedback and address issues of inclusion through sessions such as Reaching out to International Students through Technology and Creating Engaging & Inclusive Presentations.

Spotlight on Feedback and Assessment

Effective feedback and assessment remains a high priority for the University, and we’ll be offering direct support for your practice through the following workshops:

Read more ›

Posted in Accessibility, digital skills, Events, feedback, Marking and assessment, Technology Enhanced Learning

What’s new in iOS 11: Standout features and enhancements to accessibility.

If you use Apple products and haven’t been living under a rock, you’ll no doubt have heard of the updates from Apple Park over the last few weeks. Alongside the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X came the public release of iOS 11, the latest version of their mobile operating system. Having spent some time getting to grips with the new OS I thought I’d share my top picks of the new features.

I can’t possibly cover everything that’s new here, if you want a full run down, check out this very comprehensive article from Ars Technica. For a brief look at the accessibility updates check out this page on iMore.

So, what’s new?

Read more ›

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Posted in Accessibility, digital skills, Mobile learning, Technology Enhanced Learning

Fun online quizzing with Kahoot!

This week we are reviewing one of my favourite classroom tools, Kahoot!

Kahoot is a free online quiz tool that enables you to design quick fun quizzes for students for use within the classroom. It can be played competitively, cooperatively, solo or with a large group of people.  

Kahoot allows you to create your own multiple choice quizzes entering your question and answers, there is also the option to attach an image to any or all of your questions. The questions are then projected onto a screen and students can submit their answers using their mobile devices or laptops and computers through a web browser.

A unique PIN code is generated for every Kahoot session, which students enter on the Kahoot web page  to join the quiz. This  makes it very easy for a large number of students to join a quiz with minimal setup and hassle.  

After all students taking part in the quiz have submitted their answers, results are displayed, showing which answers people chose and which was the correct answer. This can work as a good way of gauging student knowledge and identifying any major knowledge gaps.

(Image source: Kahoot.it)

(Image source: Kahoot.it)

A leaderboard is then displayed, ranking players and awarding points to those who chose the correct answer. You can also set it to award extra points for the fastest answers. This is a great way to motivate students to engage with your questions, as it allows individuals or teams to compete against each other.

Dividing students into teams can encourage collaboration and discussion which can be a good way of getting shyer students to engage with their peers and take an active part in discussion .  

Featuring energetic music and bright colourful imagery, Kahoot can also be an excellent way to get students energised and excited about a class, especially early in the day.

Kahoot has also recently been updated with a new feature called Challenge mode, this allows students to play Kahoot quizzes outside of class against themselves in order to beat their own high score. This can function as a more fun and accessible way for students to revise information and their understanding of topics.   

For more information on creating a Kahoot quiz please see the Getting started guide

Is it free?

Yes, Kahoot is completely free..

Will it work on my device?

Kahoot can be accessed through a web page on any computer device, there is also an  app that can be downloaded for mobile and tablet devices on both Android and iOS.

Where can I get the app?

Ideas for using Kahoot in learning and teaching

  • Use as an icebreaking tool for new cohorts of students. If you assign them to work together in teams it strongly encourages them to discuss their answers in order to win.
  • Quickly assess understanding on certain topics and identify knowledge gaps.
  • Use open ended questions as a jumping off point to promote discussion if quizzes are created with the discussion mode.
  • Use the survey mode to gather opinions and insights on certain queries.

What are the alternatives?

Here are some alternatives to Kahoot you may want to look at:


If you are teaching at Sussex University and would like help with using Kahoot or to discuss how this or any other digital tools could help you in your teaching or learning please get in touch with the TEL team.


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Posted in Active learning, App review, Mobile learning

Seeing how it all fits together – a timeline for Art History

Last year Professor Liz James (Art History) received a Digital Practice Award. The purpose of the funding was to give staff the opportunity to develop or experiment with new tools, resources or teaching approaches with the potential to inform practice in their School or disciplinary area.

Recently I interviewed Liz to find out how her project went.

What was the learning or teaching issue that prompted this innovation?

The project was a response to an issue raised by a student on the Art and the City module which covers the whole history of Rome. Lectures are chronological, but as Liz points out, ‘something like the Forum might have significance across different periods’ so keeping the different elements from the lectures ‘in order’ and understanding how it all fitted together can be difficult. The student asked: ‘Could we have a timeline?’

The Forum (image by Liz James)

The Forum (image by Liz James)

Liz was keen:

‘It made an enormous amount of sense to have a timeline but it seemed stupid to do a paper timeline and it seemed stupid to do a timeline as a word document or anything like that. It seemed to make more sense to see if it was possible to do this electronically and create a timeline that could then sit on the Study Direct site and could be added to on a year-by-year basis.’

What did you do?

Along with the funding, came focused support from members of the Technology Enhanced Learning team who investigated commercially available timeline tools. After some discussion with students Sutori (formerly HSTRY) was selected for the project because:

‘It was something that seemed very simple and straightforward that could be rolled-over year-on-year and could be added to very straightforwardly by the students.’

extract from the Rome timeline

extract from the Rome timeline

You can read more about Sutori in our post ‘Tell a story with Sutori’.

How did the project go?

The innovation went pretty well. There was a technical issue with Sutori when trying to register all the students to use the timeline, but it seems that may now have been resolved. This year we will try signing up all the students in a workshop to enable any issues to be quickly identified. Once they got started, though:

‘the idea of an electronic timeline was successful and the students liked it and the additions that they made to it were very good and very helpful …. Feedback from students was that it was useful.’

Class visit to Rome 2017

What next?

We wondered where Liz and her students would like to take their timeline for the future.

‘In terms of what it delivers the Sutori timeline is pretty decent, but what we would ideally like to do is to generate linked timelines. What we’ve got is a timeline of the history of Rome from Romulus and Remus (or not) to the present. What might also be interesting to do is generate a timeline that is the history of The Forum running through, or a particular artist and how that intersects.’

This is not something that can be done with Sutori in quite the way that Liz envisages it, but it is possible to add all sorts of web links to a Sutori story, so a ‘Forum’ timeline could be included in the ‘Rome’ timeline offering a point at which the story could branch out.

Meanwhile, Liz will be using Sutori timelines with other courses she teaches, and colleagues in Art History are interested in using it themselves.

This was a very simple and straightforward project, but ‘it’s one of those simple ideas that actually can make a great difference to the student learning experience’.

Throughout, the emphasis was on students using the timeline, ‘putting things on the timeline that they think are important or are worth noting … not about the lecturers and tutors putting all the things on the timeline that they think should be there.’

The timeline will grow over the next few years, and will then become ‘a record of student interests and places that students go to – and that’s not always the same year on year’ so Liz is expecting its development to be fun.

If you are teaching at the University of Sussex and would like help with using technology in your teaching you can get help from the Technology Enhanced Learning team by emailing tel@sussex.ac.uk 

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Posted in Learning Design, Learning Spaces, Mobile learning, Technology Enhanced Learning

Professional Development Opportunities for the Start-of-Term

TEL Professional Development

We’re pleased to announce a new programme of professional development opportunities for the beginning of the new term, which are open to all academic and professional staff. These seven workshops, running at various times over the next three weeks, provide a mix of our tried-and-tested introductions to University systems, software and equipment, with new workshops to inspire your teaching and learning practices. They are open for booking by University of Sussex staff via: http://bit.ly/TELWorkshop

All the workshops are delivered by our specialist team of Learning Technologists and are free to attend. We will be adding a range of additional sessions with a mix of new topics throughout the term. Read more ›

Posted in digital skills, Marking and assessment, Study Direct, Technology Enhanced Learning

Nearpod – engaging, interactive and new to @SussexUni

Over the coming academic year Technology Enhanced Learning will be working with colleagues from across the academic schools to evaluate Nearpod, an interactive presentation tool new to the University of Sussex.

So, what is Nearpod?

Nearpod is a tool which allows you to create engaging presentations. You can make your presentations more interactive and enhance student engagement by adding various different  activities including open ended questions, polls, quizzes, ‘Draw it’ slides – a whiteboard feature for annotating images or gathering ideas during discussions, and Collaborate slides – a space for students to pool and share ideas, images and resources in real time. In addition to this you can include text, images, audio and video as well as embedded web pages and PDFs. Read more ›

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Posted in Active learning, Mobile learning

First impressions on Turnitin Feedback Studio from Sussex staff

This week, we provide a summary of first impressions from members of staff at the University of Sussex on Turnitin Feedback Studio.

Between July and September, Technology Enhanced Learning have been busy running a series of workshops at the University of Sussex to introduce staff to the latest changes to Turnitin. The changes have been introduced due to the recent update and rebrand of the Turnitin software to ‘Feedback Studio’. See A first look at Turnitin Feedback Studio for further details.

During this period, we have run a total of 6 workshops and trained over 100 members of staff in using the new look Feedback Studio. The workshops were open to all members of staff and were attended by everyone from course coordinators, curriculum and assessment officers through to associate tutors, teaching fellows, senior lecturers and professors. Our current programme of Feedback Studio workshops has now come to an end, however, due to popular demand, we will be announcing more soon.

As part of the workshop, we included an activity to give participants the opportunity evaluate and share their thoughts on the updates to the new software. After spending 20 minutes using and testing the new software, we asked staff to consider the following questions:

  • How will Feedback Studio be of benefit to you?
  • How will Feedback Studio be of benefit to your students?
  • Can you foresee any issues or challenges?

Over the duration of the workshop programme, staff entered a combined total of 115 comments in response to these questions onto a Padlet wall (an online space for sharing comments). I have summarised the comments below:

How will Feedback Studio be of benefit to you?

  • Improved user experience: the update includes lots of small changes which on the whole add up to make it a more efficient, intuitive and user-friendly for markers using the software.
  • Single interface to combine grading and similarity: the ability to view both the similarity report and feedback comments at the same time provides the marker with a more useful overview of the students work.
  • Commenting tools: for formatting text and adding active web links will allow markers to provide richer feedback and help students to learn independently.

How will Feedback Studio be of benefit to your students?

  • Simplified layout: will help students to access, digest and reflect on their feedback more effectively as it is now more clearly visible and presented.
  • Mobile responsive design: means that students are more likely to engage with their feedback now that Turnitin is available across all smartphones and tablets.
  • Viewing rubric forms: students are much more likely to be able to view and find their rubrics due to the new design.

Can you foresee any issues or challenges?

  • Quality assurance processes: there is still nothing in place to support workflows for blind and double marking, or view useful data e.g. the spread of marks across an assessment.
  • Using rubric forms: a number of members of staff commented that rubrics are still too clunky for markers to use, they are difficult to create and edit once they have been set up.
  • Editorial software: the software has a feel of editorial software rather than something which actively encourages good practice in providing feedback which promotes deeper learning.

In summary, the changes to Turnitin have so far been very positively received by staff during our training sessions. The general feeling seems to be that Turnitin has made a lot of small changes to modernise and improve their software which should provide small efficiencies to improve the workflow for marking and make it easier for students to access and navigate their feedback. Please stay tuned to our website for details of further workshops.

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Posted in feedback, Study Direct

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We are the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team at the University of Sussex. We publish posts each week on using technology to support teaching and learning. Read more about us.

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